The Operating System



A Series of Workshops and Roundtable Conversations on Proactive System Building in Traumatic Times
Facilitated by: Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Founder and Executive Director, The Operating System

First session: Proactive System Building for Women, Nonbinary, and Transgender Creative Practitioners, at SOHO20 Gallery, Brooklyn
January 21, 4-6 pm. FREE

What would it look like to support each other, to build intentional interpersonal infrastructures that work alongside (and possibly replace) the cultural norms and assumed systems of personal resources that we rarely examine closely together? How can mindful, intentional system building serve to stabilize and ground our personal and professional lives?

We participate in social rituals, hold onto friendships long past their expiration date, attend family functions, don’t speak up in the workplace when we perceive that doing so endangers us in some way. And now we find ourselves in a curious time, when our willingness to speak out seems to be on an uptick, made visibly safe and culturally viable – like the current #metoo movement. We post on Facebook, we share, we publish. But how many of us are able to take real risks in doing so? Who is able to take the sort of “risks” that fully inhabit their values, to work for the change we’d like to see on the personal, local, national, and global scale? This becomes a question of privilege.

SOHO20 and The Operating System invite you to participate in a discussion about navigating queer communities and gender normativity, financial and personal risk taking, interpersonal support, and precarious professions, such as art and academia, through looking at how resources and values can and do exist without a safety net. In this discussion and workshop we will use open space facilitation methodologies, drawing on writing and mindfulness exercises, and small group work, with room for emergent conversation and topics introduced by participants.

We encourage people to come both as active participants as well as observers. These conversations can be vulnerable and uncomfortable, so those who are on the fence can simply listen or ask questions. Not everyone has the same access to the privilege of sharing information without recourse, and no one can decide what defines a “safe” space for someone else. We do believe that showing up and energetically gathering around intentions to build positive, supportive infrastructures for one another is an important place to start.
RSVP on Facebook at

The  “BUILDING INTERPERSONAL INFRASTRUCTURES” initiative was started in late 2017 in response to personal and collective trauma.

We are in the process of building virtual resources and growing a community interested in exploring these questions together both on and offline.

Check out this article by OS Founder, Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, talking more about the issues at play,
use our Q&A/prompt template to submit your personal story (anonymously if you prefer) on The OS — or use the questions for your own explorations!
and please contact us if you’d like to be involved or have ideas for growing this initiative!